Saturday, 2 September 2017

170 The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode One

EPISODE: The Tomb of the Cybermen: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 02 September 1967
WRITER: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Victor Pemberton
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations 3: The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Three Doctors & The Robots of Death

"The tombs of the Cybermen must be below ground, together with all their records. If we can't get down there, all our work here and the sacrifice of that unfortunate fellow's life will go in vain."

Welcome to Doctor Who season 5, the famous season of monsters, reckoned by some to be the greatest season of Doctor Who ever. And what away to start: A Troughton story that exists in it's entirety! Huzzah! We're on DVD too!

We kick off with another great "Start the series by explaining everything" scene where the Doctor claims to be 450 years old! On the planet Telos Professor Parry's expedition have blasted free rock revealing the doors to the city. Kaftan, partner of the expedition's financier Kleig offers a reward for the first man to open the doors. A crewman tries and is electrocuted. The Tardis lands and it's crew are swiftly found & apprehended. The expedition are explaining they are searching for the remains of the Cybermen. Jamie and Victoria are keen to leave.

DOCTOR: I'm afraid that that became impossible the moment that name was mentioned.
VICTORIA: What name?
DOCTOR: Cybermen.
The Doctor first checks that the electrical charge on the door has been diffused and then gets Toberman, Kaftan's servant, to open the doors to the city. The Doctor uses the logic controls to open the two inner doors leaving the central hatch closed.
Eric Klieg: Doctor, you seem to be very familiar with this place.
The Doctor: Oh no, not really, um, it's all based on symbolic logic, the same as you use in computers. The opening mechanism to this door, an or-gate you call it.
Eric Klieg: Yes yes, I can see that, but how did you know in the first place?
The Doctor: Oh, I used my own special technique.
Eric Klieg: Oh really Doctor, and may we know what that is?
The Doctor: Keeping my eyes open and my mouth shut.
Klieg is left to try to open the door. Victoria, Kaftan & Viner find a room containing equipment to revitalise Cybermen. Jamie & Haydon find a room with a dead metallic giant silverfish like creature in. Klieg is defeated by the equations necessary to open the central hatch but the Doctor points him towards a solution. Kaftan causes Victoria to be trapped in the Revitalising machine. Haydon ties some controls in their room causing a hypnotic pattern to appear. The Doctor tried to release Victoria. Jamie is hypnotised by the pattern but Haydon turns it off. They think it's a target range. They run the program again as the Doctor frees Victoria. The Doctor runs into the room Jamie's in as a Cyberman figure appears from nowhere and Haydon is shot, his smoking body falling to the floor.

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It's "Doctor Who does Curse of the Mummy's Tomb". Obviously inspired by the Howard Carter "Tutankhamun" expedition and Mummy horror films this episode is exactly that: penetrate an ancient tomb, only on an alien planet rather than in Egypt, and work out how to get through the sealed doors and past the traps. Of course in the horror films once you find the Mummy it wakes up and rises from it's tomb so I think we can guess what's going to happen.

Troughton's superb in this, lots of great lines baiting Klieg who he takes an instant dislike to.

DOCTOR: We shall stay and help you with your search.
KLIEG: Perhaps we don't want your help.
DOCTOR: That's just it, you so obviously do
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It's a Cyberman story so back come Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis to write and also returning is director Morris Barry who helmed their previous appearance in the Moonbase becoming the first person to direct The Cybermen twice. Behind the scenes it's musical chairs as Producer Innes Lloyd temporarily vacates his chair in favour of script editor Peter Bryant getting a trial story as producer. His role is then filled by his assistant Victor Pemberton who had appeared in The Cybermen's previous story The Moonbase as Scientist Jules Faure.

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A significant amount of this episode was filmed on location with Gerrard's Cross Quarry providing the surface of Telos. These sequences were filmed 12th June 1967 enabling shirt sleeves to be worn and giving the impression of a warm clime, similar to the Egypt that Carter would have experienced. The same quarry serves as the surface of Dulkis in The Dominators, a later Second Doctor before appearing as Jaconda in the Sixth Doctor's first story The Twin Dilemma. It's final appearance is in the very next story, Attack of the Cybermen, where it's once again the surface of Telos.

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But Telos isn't the only alien planet in this episode: the start of the episode is set on Skaro, the only time both planets appear in the same story, as an Epilogue to Evil of the Daleks where the Doctor and Jamie rescue the orphaned Victoria and bring her into the Tardis for the first time giving the series another opportunity to restate the basics of what it's about:

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VICTORIA: I don't know. I can't believe it. It's so big. Where are we?
DOCTOR: Oh, it's the Tardis. It's my home. At least, it has been for a considerable number of years.
VICTORIA: What are all these knobs?
DOCTOR: What, these?
JAMIE: Instruments. These are for controlling our flight.
JAMIE: Well, yes. You see, we travel around in here through time and space.
DOCTOR: Oh no, no, no, no. Don't laugh. It's true. Your father and Maxtible were working on the same problem, but I have perfected a rather special model, which enables me to travel through the universe of time.
VICTORIA: How can you? I mean, if what you say is true then you must be, er, well, how old?
DOCTOR: Well, if we count in Earth terms, I suppose I must be about four hundred, yes, about four hundred and fifty years old. Yes, well, quite. Now, I think Victoria might find that dress a little impracticable if she's going to join us in our adventures. Jamie, show her where she can find some new ones, will you?
JAMIE: Aye, right. This way, Victoria. Try to give us a smooth take off, Doctor? We don't want to frighten her.
DOCTOR: A smooth take off? A smooth take off! What a nerve!
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I'm pretty certain I've seen the hypnotic targeting effect in this episode used in an old 1960s episode of Top of the Pops!

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The metallic creature Jamie finds on the floor will become significant later in the story, but it's worth noting this is the first appearance of a Cybermat, albeit a small one, in Doctor Who.

KLIEG: Well, the basis of this code is binary to digital conversion with a intervening step involving a sort of Whitehead logic.
Well, when this Burrier series is complete, there is no more to be done.
DOCTOR: Yes, but why do it at all?
The Whitehead Logic mentioned in this piece of dialogue is an in joke, a nod to Reg Whitehead who has appeared in both Cybermen stories so far. He'll be along shortly....

But some of the cast for this story aren't with us for all of it. Bernard Holley played the already deceased Peter Haydon and will return as an Axon in The Claws of Axos. He'd already been in the now missing Out of the Unknown episode 1+1=1.5 as a TV Announcer and would later appear in the second series of The Tripods as The Power Master. From my childhood I can recall him in the Children's educational series Eureka produced by former Doctor Who vision mixer Clive Doig and alongside future Doctor Who actor Sylvester McCoy. More recently you may have seen him as the Chief Constable in A Touch of Frost who has a liking for the rogue Inspector. You can hear him interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 41.

1 actor Bernard Holley 1 actor Ted Rogers

I don't know anything about Alan Johns who plays Ted Rogers, bar that director Morris Barry also used him on a Z-Cars episode that same year, but I am required by law to do a 3-2-1 joke at this point.

Doctor Who got a new opening title sequence during The Macra Terror and new opening music during The Faceless Ones. Now the end credits catches up with the opening titles in having the updated version of the music.

There's some recognisable music in the episode too: Paul Bonneau's Sideral Univers is heard during the surface sequences: this track can be found on Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection 4CD set. Meanwhile Eric Siday's Galaxy from Ultra Sonic Perception is heard as they enter main room in the city. Various tracks from Ultra Sonic Perception have been heard before in the series but this is the first time this track has been used.

Tomb of the Cybermen is currently the earliest complete surviving Troughton story. But it wasn't always this way. We've just finished season 4, of which no complete story exists and there's only 10 episodes remaining. Season 5, the famous season of monsters, was once in much worse shape. At one point just two episodes remained from season 5: The Enemy of the World 3 and the final episode, Wheel in Space 6. Over the years many were returned till at the end of 1991 the BBC's holdings for season 5 consisted of the following:

Which Exist
When Found
What Were Missing
The Tomb of the Cybermen
The Abominable Snowmen
returned from collector 1982
1, 3-6
The Ice Warriors
1 & 4-6
all found in a cupboard at the BBC in August 1988
2 & 3
The Enemy of the World
always present
1, 2 & 4-6
The Web of Fear
returned 1978
Fury from the Deep
The Wheel in Space
3, 6
3 returned from collector in 1984
6 always present
1, 2, 4 & 5

That's nine episodes present, but still not a complete story (both the same as season 4) and nothing at all from either Tomb of the Cybermen or Fury from the Deep. Then in December 1991 the Film & Video library had a phone call from Asia TV in Hong Kong....

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